Here at Best Quality Coffee, we're continuing our series featuring small coffee brands from around the country who produce incredible good coffee. These coffee brands are what we'd call “hidden coffee gems” and we've taken it upon ourselves to find them. Our next stop takes us to the small town of Conrad, Montana where a couple's love of coffee and serving others led them to start Folklore Coffee in 2014. In this Folklore Coffee review, we take a look at both their coffee and some personal insights from one of the owners, Andy Pollard.
So you may be asking what initially drew us to check out the company. For starters, Folklore Coffee is a 2018 gold medal winner of the Golden Bean competition which is the largest global roaster competition in the industry. Obviously, that's no small feat and this achievement speaks volumes about the quality of their coffee.
At the same time, I've tried many award-winning coffees before only to walk away feeling admittedly disappointed. So while I was already impressed by their list of accomplishments, it would be my taste buds that would have the ultimate say. Fortunately, the folks at Folklore were kind enough to send us a sample of their acclaimed Ethiopian single origin to review.
Upon opening the bag, the aroma was so potent and fragrant that you could almost taste the coffee through your nose. I prepared the coffee using a pour over with a medium-fine grind. To get right to the point of this Folklore Coffee review, their coffee is phenomenal in every sense of the word. The range of subtle flavors is apparent and it's an amazingly well-balanced brew. True to its flavor notes, I could taste mild blackberry and subtle floral notes. In my humble opinion, this coffee more than lives up to its award-winning title.
For those who may not know, African coffees tend to be more floral and fruity and thus, more acidic in flavor. Personally, I'm usually not big on tartness and high acidity. However, Folklore Coffee's Ethiopian variety is unlike any other coffee I've tasted for one primary reason. It's unbelievably smooth. I mean that literally as in you won't believe how smooth the coffee is until you've tried it. There's virtually no bitter or sharp aftertaste that's so common with this type of coffee. What's left is the natural expression of a distinctly pure and clean flavor. It's almost as if during the roasting process, they tweaked every attribute of the bean so as to produce the perfect coffee.
And that's exactly what they did. I had a chance to speak with Pollard and from listening to him speak about his approach to coffee roasting, it's clear he takes his coffee seriously and in a very good way.
“Roasting is a delicate blend of science and art. I've seen some approach it from only art or only science, and it doesn't work out. You need an appropriate mix of both”, said Pollard.
Pollard is a formally trained barista and attended the American Barista & Coffee School in Portland where he would establish a foundation of coffee know-how. Many coffee lovers know the best coffee is achieved only through the sacred art of “coffee geekdom”, which is described as getting extremely meticulous and technical with every aspect of the coffee bean. This includes everything from the processing to the actual brewing. Pollard calls Folklore's style of coffee “nerdy” but without the “snobbery” which often accompanies certain elite coffee circles.
Folklore Coffee focuses on single origin coffee and typically roasts their beans as a light to medium roast. This past November, they opened up another location in Whitefish, Montana.
In conclusion, Folklore Coffee captures the spirit of the Third Wave Coffee or Specialty Coffee movement in which coffee is treated as an artisinal product as opposed to just a drink. It's like micro-brewery's craft beer versus a regular beer. True to the approach of specialty coffee roasters, Pollard stated he wants his micro-roastery to do justice to not only the coffee bean itself, but also to all of the work and effort the farmers have invested into this product. As he and his wife continue to perfect the art of roasting, Folklore continues to shine as a rare coffee gem acknowledged by even the most uncompromising coffee connoisseurs in the world.
If you've had a chance to try this coffee and would like to share your Folklore Coffee review, we'd love to hear from you in the comments.